Why I Stopped Going To Church: My Catholic Faith Journey

Everyone’s Catholic Faith journey is different.  Even if it follows the same general path, it is still unique.  I enjoy reading about other people’s journeys because I always come away with a better understanding of that person and of our Catholic faith.  I think it’s time I shared mine.

catholic faith journey

My Childhood

I was born and raised as a Catholic.  We lived across the street from our Church.  Even our cats went to Church.  In the summer the doors to the Church were left open during Mass.  One Sunday shortly after taking our seats, we saw our kittens walking down the isle!  They followed us across the street and into the Church!  It was quite a sight!

As a child I received all of the sacraments: Baptism, Reconciliation, Communion, and Confirmation.  During my preparation for Confirmation, I became a Eucharistic Minister and continued serving as one for a few years after I was Confirmed.

We attended Church every Sunday, but it was never anything more.  It was a habit, but being Catholic was not a way of life.  We tried not to sin, but we didn’t strive to become Saints.  We didn’t pray as a family.  I honestly don’t even know if my parents own a bible.

I was raised to fear God, not to understand His love.  I barely remember anything that I learned in my religious education classes.

I don’t blame my parents for not deepening my faith.  They raised me the way that they were raised.  They didn’t have the all of the resources available that we have today thanks to the internet.

I stopped going to Church when I was 18.

A month before going back to college for my sophomore year, something terrible happened to a young woman from my hometown.

She always had a smile for everyone.  She was always happy.

I couldn’t understand why God would let this happen to such a genuine, kind person.

I was angry at God because he didn’t prevent this tragedy and I let him know it.

I was also mad that because we attended the same school I was the only connection between her and her college friends.  Which meant that I had to make the phone call to let them know what happened to her.  That was the most difficult thing that I’ve had to do in my life.

Have you ever been that upset with God?  I was so angry at God that I stopped going to Church.

I realize how selfish I was for being angry at God because I was the one who had to share the news to this girl’s college friends, but I was young and naive.  I didn’t understand that God gave us free will and that he doesn’t stop people from doing bad things.

But, even though I was mad at Him and I thought that my Catholic Faith journey was over,  I never stopped believing in God.  I never stopped praying.

It took me many, many years to understand that God wasn’t to blame.

Catholic Faith Journey

It took me even more years to start going to Church again.

There wasn’t a single moment that brought me back to Church.  There were gentle nudges from my husband and there were a number of small miracles.  Things that can only be explained as God’s handiwork.  I had the privilege to give birth to four children after having six miscarriages.  We had the opportunity to spend a little time with my brother-in-law after he had a massive heart attack.  He woke up for a couple of days and we were able to visit and laugh with him before his heart finally gave out a day later.  We were lucky to have a chain of events happen that allowed for the capture of the person that was repeatedly breaking in to our store.

Now that I am back, I realize that I never should have left.

As I look back on the last 25+ years of my life, I can see God’s work in my life, creating a life that I certainly didn’t plan for myself.  Yes, there have been losses and pain and hard times, but it’s a life that is so much better than I could have created on my own!

I came back to the Church partly for my children, but mostly for me and certainly for God.

As I continue on my Catholic Faith journey, I’ve come to realize that there is so much I don’t know about the Catholic Faith.

I am trying to make up for lost time and learn all that I can.  I pray now more than I ever have.  I give thanks for all of the blessings in my life, which I never did before.

I seek God’s advice and counsel rather than tell him exactly what I want him to give me.

I suppose much of this comes from maturity, but I think it also comes from gratitude.  I am so grateful for the blessings I have been given in my life, especially the blessing that I didn’t ask for.

I’m trying to teach our children about our faith, but as I said I don’t know very much and sometimes it’s a struggle to answer their questions.

I have found the following sites to be extremely helpful for education, encouragement and inspiration as I continue on my Catholic Faith journey:

Prayer Wine Chocolate

Sterling Jaquith (I am especially loving her latest podcast series Striving For Sainthood: 20 Minute Audio Classes for Catholic Moms)

CatholicMom

I’m currently reading the following books:

This post contains affiliate links.

The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion

What Catholics Really Believe

And for fun (written by a Catholic): Dad Is Fat

If you have any resources (books, websites, podcasts, etc.) that would help me deepen my faith, please let me know in the comments.

Also, I’d love to read about your Catholic Faith journey.  If you’ve written about it, please leave a link in the comments.

Photo credits: Suzi Whitford

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7 comments

  1. Sara says:

    Such a heartbreaking story. God brings good even out of the darkest moments. I’m so glad He brought you back home, and that your faith is alive and thriving! Searching in the Catechism is always a good starting point! I’ve been learning so much as I go straight to the source for all my questions 🙂

  2. Janet says:

    Reading Surprised by Truth books by Patrick Madrid really helped me in my faith journey. Short stories by converts and reverts. Thank you for your testimony. God bless.

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